There are thousands of different nursing schools and nursing programs around the United States. From public universities to small, independent vocational training centers, you can get all the training you need in just two to four years.
When it comes to choosing the right college for you, however, there are more than just considerations of degree type and the length of the program. Many private schools offer faith-based learning (typically in a Christian or Catholic setting) in which nursing and religious studies are mixed. In some schools this takes the form of one or two prerequisite classes in religion; in others, there might be a more in-depth approach to nursing with an overarching faith-based design. Depending on your personal beliefs and what you want out of your career, these schools might be right for you.
Benefits of a Faith-Based Nursing Program
The truth is that many of today’s hospitals and nursing homes are run by religious organizations. Although it is becoming increasingly more common for big businesses to own and operate hospitals, many health care centers have their roots in religious organizations or a mission that takes faith into account. These hospitals aren’t likely to turn you away from employment if you didn’t attend a religious college, but being taught in the same tradition (in which spirituality and caregiving are intertwined) can help you be more comfortable in that particular corporate culture.
The classes you take are likely to be very similar to those of a non-religious nursing school, and you will be held to the same academic and professional requirements (including passing the nursing licensure exam and graduating from an accredited school), so the level of education is the same no matter where you go. Coursework that might be a little different includes:
- World religions
- Healing words
- Public advocacy
- Health ministry
- Home visits
- Hospice and end-of-life care
In fact, you are more likely to find that a nursing program in a faith-based school has less to do with one particular religion and more to do with human spirituality as a whole. Tolerance for other religions, honoring individual beliefs, and connecting individuals and families with religious services in their area are all part of the faith-based nursing approach.
Where to Find a Faith-Based Nursing Program
These programs are more prevalent than you might think. Many of the top schools associated with great nursing are actually built on religious traditions, and even though faith might not be at the forefront of all that you learn, you could incorporate school resources with your own approach to nursing school. For example, Emory University and Loyola University, whose nursing programs consistently rank in the top 30 for the nation, are both faith-based organizations.
Religion and nursing tend to go hand-in-hand, since you must deal with life and death every day. No matter what your personal beliefs, you should be able to find great personal and professional opportunities at a faith-based nursing school. As long as the school is accredited and has a good reputation, you should have no fears about adding it to your list of possibilities.